The Associated Press reports that Christine O’Donnell has pulled off an almost-surprising upset over Rep. Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican primary, after receiving the conservative-coveted endorsement of Sarah Palin last week.
With 85% of precincts reporting, O’Donnell leads 54%-46%.
Her win came despite whispers among national Republicans that the three-time candidate (and two-time loser) wasn’t ready for prime time given her precarious financial situation and history of somewhat extreme positions on sexuality.
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O’Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee.]The race in Delaware got ugly in the last couple of weeks, as Castle finally decided to slug it out with the insurgent O’Donnell, who he’d been theretofore ignoring. Accusations flew as a former O’Donnell consultant accused Castle of carrying on extramarital affairs with men, a charge that O’Donnell eventually repudiated multiple times — while also spreading awareness of the charges.
Castle devotees responded by flagging reports of O’Donnell’s own interesting history with sex: a former abstinence advocate, O’Donnell spent much of the nineties inveighing against masturbation and pornography in addition to premarital sex and contraception.
Then came the charges that she owed back taxes and had yet to pay off her debts from the 2008 campaign; she responded that, like many Americans, she’d run into financial problems. The most troubling charges, made by ex-aides, came only this week, when Castle began airing a robocall in which an aide charged that O’Donnell was only running for office to fund her personal expenses. O’Donnell denied those charges, too.
In the end, though, none of the charges of O’Donnell’s improprieties were enough to propel Castle to victory.
Democrats are sure to be pleased with O’Donnell’s victory. The Democratic nominee, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, polls much better against the far-right O’Donnell than he does against the more moderate Castle.
Full coverage of the race here.